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Full text of "Lord Rosebery on a Parnellite Alliance"

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Speaking at Paisley on the 15th of October, 1885, Lord 
Rosebery said in connection with the alleged alliance between the 
Tories and Parnellites. 

THE engagement has been only sealed so far ; it has not been rati- 
fied. ^A^e shall have to pay for the ratification. The followers 
of Mr. Parnell do not give votes for nothing. I fear the result will 
be disastrous. I don't profess to be a very imaginative person, but I 
confess that my imagination fails to leads me to what the practical 
result of that alliance may be. Well, try and imagine to yourselves the 
future of i lis country governed by Mr. Parnell and Lord Randolph 
Churchill — (ironical laughter) — on the principle which Prince Bis- 
marck calls do ut des — " give that you may give " — on the principle of 
*' scratch me and I will scratch you." (Laughter.) We know the 
freedom from prejudice, to call it by no stronger expression, of the 
Tory party. We know the friendly feeling of Mr. Parnell towards this 
country, and we may be certain that it is not England, or Scotland, or 
Wales that will benefit by this new and interesting alliance. (Cheers.) 
Now, that is a grave prospect that the electors should weigh. I have 
no right to say anything about elections, but if I were an elector my 
whole object would be to sink all minor differences, and to take care 
that that alliance should be fruitless. (Cheers.) Now, if the Tory 
Government remains, and it can remain if you give it enough of votes, 
with the eighty or ninety followers of Mr. Parnell, to hold its own — if 
that Government remains, the future of the next House of Commons 
will rest, not with Lord Salisbury or with Lord Randolph Churchill, but 
with Mr. Parnell. He, and not Lord Salisbury, will be the master of 
the situation. He, and not Sir Michael Hicks Beach, will be the leader 
of the House of Commons. He will sit enthroned, with Lord Randolph 
Churchill on his right, and Sir Michael Hicks Beach on his left — 
(laughter) — like chiefs in Israel — (renewed laughter) — with eighty 
Parnellite members behind them who have signed the blind pledge of 
his followers, and the Tory members will mix with these eighty Par- 
nellites, who have had to swallow a pledge, much as in the old days of 
Ireland, when the process-server came to serve the writ, the bailiff was 
made to swallow it. (Laughter.) Though it has its comic side, I 
think this prospect is a tragic one, because it may lead to a gloomy 
and terrible reaction, and what we always have to fear in politics is re- 
action. But I go further, and I say that this alliance of the Tory and 
the Irish vote is a new and very dangerous feature in our politics. 
You may say it is a stale charge to bring. Well, I would reiterate it 
till it is staler still, because it is an alliance which has not merely struck 
a mortal stab at political principles, but it involves a danger to the 
Empire itself I have said that there are two features in this new 
alliance. I have stated one — that is the alliance of the Conservative and 
the Parnellite Party. I will now state the other new feature, and it 
is this — Mr. Parnell has formulated his demands and has stated what 

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he wants. I think no one who has studied politics can fail to appre- 
ciate the great merits of Mr. Parnell's political character. He has great 
force of character ; he has an enormous power of condensed and 
significant speech ; and, above all, he knows what he wants- 
We know from his last speeches something of what he wants ; not all 
because I think if we granted all that he asks now we should find that 
there was a postscript. (Laughter and cheers.) What he wants now is 
an Irish Parliament with power to impose Protective duties. Now, I 
am not the least afraid of the Protective duties, and I will let you know 
why — because Protective duties could only end in a measure of retali- 
ation which would shut the Irish out from their only markets, and which 
would make them remove their own Protective duties. (Cheers.) I am 
not the least apprehensive about the Protective duties, but -zf/^f^/ zj 
Proposed is this, as I understand it — that Ireland should be treated as a 
colony, and that the Crown should be the only link between Ireland and 
the mother country . Well, it is so with the colonies, and Mr. Parnell 
wishes Ireland to be treated as a colony. But there is one great and 
essential difference between Ireland and our colonies, and it is this — 
that the colonies are loyal, and Ireland, I greatly fear , is not. (Cheers.) 
I wish I could believe it, but I cannot. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, I think that in speaking of Ireland and Irish 
affairs we are apt to touch too much on the Irish vote. I think the 
Irish vote should no longer be a factor in the British Parliament, and 
for this reason, that there is no reliance to be placed upon it. 
The Irish vote is not guided by consideration of what is best for Great 
Britain and for the Empire. (Cheers.) 

It seems to me that in considering this question, we have gained 
something if we have made up our minds that we are no longer to regard 
the Irish Parliamentary vote — (cheers) — and it seems to me if we come 
to that conclusion we have gained something more, because we have 
gained a perception of the only right policy to be pursued towards 
Ireland. I am afraid there is only one policy to be pursued towards 
Ireland, and it is this — to treat Ireland exactly, so far as may be, as you 
woula treat any other part of the United Kingdom, whenever you can 
do it, without regard to the language of menace or insult, or language of 
opprobrium from those you are trying to benefit. Whenever you can do 
it, try and treat Ireland exactly as you would treat Scotland or Wales. 
(Cheers.) If you pass a itieasure of local government for Great Britain, 
Pass as near as may be exactly the satne measure of local government 
for Ireland. (Cheers.) She will not thank you ; she will receive your 
measure rather with a curse than with a blessing ; but what I want to 
point out is, that it is unworthy of British statesmen, who know so much 
of Irish affairs, to heed any longer the reception which may be given 
by the leaders of public opinion in Ireland. (Cheers.) — Scotsfnan^ i6th 
October, 1885.